SAN ANTONIO, TX (CelebrityAccess) — John Malone’s Liberty Media Corp. appears to have its sights set on iHeartMedia Inc., offering an infusion of as much as $1.16 billion in cash into the troubled radio giant in exchange for a 40% stake in the company after it emerges from what appears to be a likely bankruptcy.
According to the Wall Street Journal, news of Liberty’s interest came to light after a group of iHeart revealed Liberty Media’s offered lifeline. iHeartMedia is currently in a 30-day grace period after the company missed a Feb. 1st interest payment to bondholders.
iHeartMedia, formerly known as Clear Channel Communications, has been in talks with creditors for months and is seeking to restructure more than $15 billion in debt. The debt largely accrued as a part of a 2008 buyout by private-equity firms Thomas H. Lee and Bain Capital, which came just before the financial crisis, which tightened commercial lending.
As well, iHeartMedia has faced declining revenue in advertising, one of its principal businesses, as advertisers increasingly shift their ad buys away from radio and newspapers to online advertising.
The proposed Liberty deal might have substantial benefits for iHeartMedia. Liberty also controls rival satellite broadcaster SiriusXM and the two entities would be able to stop competing and boost one another’s offerings, the WSJ reported. As well, Liberty has substantial clout in the live entertainment sector, and owns a significant stake in Live Nation, with Liberty execs Greg Maffei and Mark Carleton holding posts on the promoter-giant’s board of directors.